‘TOTALITY’ live event, documentary to explore eclipse arc across Arkansas

March 21, 2024

Arkansas PBS, Arkansas Department of Education partner to offer statewide eclipse coverage with NASA, community members 

CONWAY, Ark. (Arkansas PBS) — ArkansasIDEAS, a partnership between Arkansas PBS and the Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), will present: “TOTALITY: Live Eclipse Event Across Arkansas” Monday, April 8, beginning at 1 p.m. on Arkansas PBS and at myarpbs.org/eclipse. This live event will be the only one of its kind to follow the total solar eclipse across Arkansas, beginning with community gatherings and continuing through the full 12-minute arc across the state.

To encourage and support learning, the Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education is pleased to share helpful information and resources, including a link to an interactive solar eclipse map. Be sure to visit DESE’s eclipse page often, as new events and opportunities are added each week.

According to NASA, a total solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the sun. As the Great North American Eclipse of 2024 – a monumental celestial event more than 100 years in the making – spans a complete arc across Arkansas, viewers worldwide will be able to watch via livestream.

Communities, schools and families – both inside and outside the path of totality – will have an exclusive front row seat for this rare occasion. Production teams positioned in De Queen, Russellville, Jonesboro and on Petit Jean Mountain will provide insights from esteemed national and local physics and astronomy experts, as well as reactions from community members and visitors to the state. Former KATV anchor Chris Kane will host the hourlong event.

Featured guests during the live event will include:

  • Robert Loper, Ph.D., research astrophysicist, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
  • David Weigel, planetarium director, U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
  • Russellville Mayor Fred Teague.

Totality will begin in Southwest Arkansas, and the network’s first correspondent will be stationed in De Queen, the community that will be in darkness longer than any other location across the state, at 4 minutes and 17 seconds. Totality in De Queen should begin around 1:46 p.m.

Next, the eclipse will reach the production team in Russellville, Arkansas, at approximately 1:50 p.m.

The third correspondent will be atop Petit Jean Mountain at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute – for one of the highest views of the event – where (due to its proximity to Russellville) totality is expected to begin at approximately 1:50 p.m., as well.

Finally, totality will reach Nettleton, Arkansas, at around 1:56 p.m. – before passing out of the state completely.

To help build excitement for this historic event, ArkansasIDEAS has created “TOTALITY: The Great Arkansas Eclipse,” a short documentary weaving together the unique stories of Arkansas astronomers, highlighting the science behind eclipses and sharing the importance of eclipse safety. The documentary will feature interviews with scientists from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the Arkansas Tech University Observatory, as well as high school astronomer Mekenzie Racy, a junior from Nettleton, Arkansas. The documentary also includes a segment on creating a pinhole viewer out of a cereal box. “TOTALITY: The Great Arkansas Eclipse,” will premiere Thursday, March 28, at 7 p.m.; encore Monday, April 8, at 12:30 and 2 p.m.; and will be available on demand at myarpbs.org/eclipse and in the PBS App.

Additional resources, including the pinhole viewer how-to video, are available at myarpbs.org/eclipse.

A full-length professional development course combining the two events, as well as new footage from local events throughout the state, will be released by ArkansasIDEAS in summer 2024 and will be aligned with relevant Arkansas K-12 science and Arkansas history standards.

“TOTALITY: The Great Arkansas Eclipse” is produced by ArkansasIDEAS, a partnership between Arkansas PBS and the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education.

About ArkansasIDEAS
ArkansasIDEAS is a partnership between Arkansas PBS and the Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education to provide online, statewide professional development courses and resources for K-12 Arkansas educators. The purpose of ArkansasIDEAS is to increase student achievement by supporting teaching and learning. Every project pursued by the team is designed to impact student learning through educator training.

About DESE:
The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is a division of the Arkansas Department of Education, which provides leadership, support and service to schools, districts and communities so every student graduates prepared for college, career and community engagement.

About Arkansas PBS
Arkansas PBS, Arkansas’s only statewide public media network, empowers learners of all ages by educating, informing, entertaining and inspiring communities. Arkansas PBS serves as a daily and essential resource for Arkansans by creating, sharing, celebrating and driving conversation around Arkansas stories and classic, trusted PBS programs through multiple digital platforms, including livestreaming at myarpbs.org/live, on-demand services and YouTube TV, and the distinct channels Arkansas PBS, Arkansas PBS Create, Arkansas PBS KIDS, Arkansas PBS WORLD and Arkansas PBS AIRS on SAP. Members with Arkansas PBS Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. Arkansas PBS depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at myarkansaspbs.org. Arkansas PBS is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), KETZ (El Dorado), KETS (Russellville), KETS (Forrest City), KETS (Gaither) and KETS (Yancy).